Sunday, July 10, 2011

Strawberry Cheese Cake Ice Cream - Crust and All!

One of the best impulse buys I've ever had is the day I spotted an ice cream maker at my grocery store. It was at the end of summer, and it was marked down to $9.99!  That was three summers ago, and I've made many batches of delicious sorbets and ice creams.  I have made Philadelphia style ice cream, that unlike custards,  contains no egg yolks and does not require cooking. It's based purely on cream and sugar, and is very delicate-tasting, with few ingredients. But, now that I have mastered the art of making ice cream custard-- well, I'm smitten!  While the process involves whisking eggs and sugar, and tempering them into hot cream, it's so worth the extra effort.  I find that the ice cream results in a much creamier texture, with a richer flavor. What's not to love?   I had some strawberries that were a few days past their prime.  Sure, I could freeze them to make my Power Smoothies.  But, I had another idea-- I wanted to make a Strawberry Cheesecake ice cream.  Using my Universal Recipe Box ("Google") I landed on Joy The Baker's recipe.  Bingo!

The first thing I did was to make a strawberry puree (no photos).  It's pretty simple.  I hulled and washed 1 1/2 pint of strawberries and pureed them. I added a little bit of sugar and some lemon juice.  Into the fridge it went, until it was time...

I took a detour, since I didn't have 2 cups of half and half. Instead, I used 1 cup of whole milk and 1 cup of heavy cream.  In case you are wondering if you can use non-fat or low-fat milk, let me ask you... why?  I mean, if you're going to eat ice cream, then try not to cut the fat.  Ice cream needs fat to make it be-- well, ice cream!  Live a little! Exercise later. It's summer!

Vanilla bean is a wonderful thing. It's also expensive.  Meet my newest friend-- Singing Dog Vanilla Bean Paste is one of my favorite pantry items.  I buy mine at Whole Foods, or you can buy it on their website. They're also on Facebook.

You can use pure vanilla, of course-- and I also use Singing Dog Vanilla. Or, you can scrape the seeds from a vanilla bean. Moi?  I added a heaping teaspoon of the vanilla bean paste.  You can actually see vanilla bean seeds. Very cool!  While the milk/cream mixture begins to heat, to scalding over a medium-low heat--


...beat 4 ounces of room temperature cream cheese, two egg yolks and 2/3 cup of granulated sugar until fluffy-- about 2-3 minutes.  Once the milk/cream is hot (but not boiling) very gradually add it to the cream cheese mixture.  There are a couple ways of doing this-- you can add a ladle of the cream mixture to egg mixture, whisking all the while.  This should temper the eggs, so that they don't scramble. Because I'm comfortable making a cream Anglaise, I find that I can slowly add all of the scalded milk/cream mixture without any problems.  I tun this mixture through fine mesh sieve, in case there are any lumps.

Return the custard to the stove.  You can use a double boiler.  I don't, because I never leave my stove.  I have yet to burn a custard (crosses fingers).  You want to cook this mixture until it coats a spoon (at about 170F).  Sometimes I'll make an ice bath, and set a bowl inside.  This cools the custard quickly. This time, I didn't.  I like shortcuts, and if they work, I keep taking them!  I always strain the custard in a fine mesh sieve, then cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate it.  I always chill my custards for a minimum of four hours-- but overnight is best.  You cannot rush these things!


I almost forgot!  Add about 1 cup of the strawberry puree, and some more vanilla.  Give it a good stir and now chill the whole ice cream custard mixture.

While the custard was chilling, I started to think--  what if I made a cheesecake crust and then added it to the ice cream?  What I love about Twitter and my Facebook Fan Page, is that I posed this very question to my wonderful readers.  I was encouraged to go for it.  I pulsed 5 graham crackers in my food processor, then added 3 Tablespoons of melted butter and 3 Tablespoons of white sugar. I pressed the mixture into 1/4 baking sheet and baked it at 350F for 10 minutes.


I had set aside the remaining 1/2 pint of strawberries and I chopped them.  They tasted a wee bit tart, so I sprinkled a little bit of powdered sugar on top.

Early in the evening, it was time to churn ice cream. 
 
The macerated berries and cheesecake "crust" bits were at the ready. I added my chilled custard to the ice cream maker and let it rip for about 25 minutes.

Ooooh, soft ice cream!  I can't lie.  I took a few generous tastes. Seriously good.  I was doing a happy dance.

I gently folded in the strawberries...

 ...then gently folded in about half of the graham cracker crust.

As I began to transfer the ice cream into a 1-Quart container, I added a couple more thin layers of graham cracker crust.  (I still have some leftover, but it'll keep in the fridge for a bit.)  This is where patience really comes in.  It has to freeze for a few hours.


One benefit of churning ice cream, is scraping out the frozen bits.  So good!The next day (today....)

The ice cream had hardened quite a bit (this is what happens when you don't add stabilizer ingredients, that you can't pronounce).  I let the ice cream sit on the counter for about 15 minutes.  I haven't tried letting it sit in the fridge for 30 minutes.  Let's see, 15 minute wait or 30 minute wait? Patience isn't my strongest virtue.

VERDICT:    This is strawberry cheesecake in a frozen form.  The balance of cream cheese flavor to the sweetness of red strawberries is perfect.  I loved the crunch of the "crust" bits and pieces. I'm so glad that I decided to add that component to the original recipe.  This cream cheese ice cream custard base is a keeper. As for the leftover graham cracker crust bits?  Oh, I can see Batch #2 coming up really soon!   I can see so many cheesecake flavor possibilities-- lemon cheesecake? Yes!  Mocha? Heck ya!  Blueberry? Why not? 

If you don't own an ice cream maker, you're missing out one of the most rewarding homemade desserts you can make. There's something really special about serving homemade ice cream, that will impress any dinner guest.  I only wish I could share a taste of all of this with you wonderful readers.

I'd better get busy and grill us some dinner.  I haven't been blogging as often as I'd like to, mainly because we've been grilling very simple dinners. Do you really need a recipe for grilled burgers or chicken?  During the summer, I'm happy with very simple grilled meats and veggies.  Most of our favorites are already on my blog!

Our sweet tooth, however, is always longing to try something new.  I just have to stick to teensie smaller portions!

As always, a printable recipe card is at the bottom of this post. Now, go make ice cream and conquer!

Happy Summer!




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24 comments:

Amy said...

Oh my this looks delicious! I have just discovered a strawberry farm down the road from my house and I think that this would be a welcome treat in my house sometime next weekend. I don't have an icecream maker yet, but I'm sure where there is a will (in this case a definite) there is a way. Thanks for sharing.

bellini said...

Williams and Sonoma has a vanilla bean paste as well. I'll need to pick some up the next time I am in the States.

Nina said...

Debby, this looks *wonderful*! Wow! What a perfect summer ice cream. And how great that you found that machine for such a great price! I need to pick up some of that vanilla bean paste. Great post!

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

Don't you love the soft ice cream fresh out of the churn? But how fabulous that you made true gourmet ice cream? This looks luscious!

Joanne said...

I would have such a hard time not eating the entire pint of this! As if ice cream or cheesecake alone weren't amazing...then to put them together! Out of this world.

Cathy at Wives with Knives said...

Oh, my, I have a very sad weakness for rich ice cream, and I think this one qualifies, Debby. I love the graham cracker crust you added to the mix. This has summer written all over it.

Kim said...

I recently made a strawberry cheesecake ice cream with a cream cheese base in place of the traditional custard base and it was lovely. This version however, looks amazing with the added crust. I could literally have a field day eating it!

iadorefood said...

looks so good miam!
www.iadorefood.com

Karen (Back Road Journal) said...

Your ice cream sounds delicious. I am happy to learn about the vanilla bean paste as our market doesn't carry vanilla beans. Off to shop the web and order some.

Mary said...

I have to get my hands on the bean paste. Your ice cream looks beautiful and sounds delicious. I love strawberry flavoring so this is perfect for my tastes. Have a great dat, Debby. Blessings...Mary.

Toyin O. said...

That looks sooooo good; thanks for sharing.

Yvonne @ StoneGable said...

Debbie this is so decedent... and I could probably eat a whole tub. What a great idea to use a graham cracker crust as an add-in! I also am going to look out for the vanilla bean paste. This post is a goldmine of deliciousness!
So nice to stop by!
Yvonne

Faith said...

Oh man, Singing Dog is great!!!! I cant wait to make this!!!

personalised mugs said...

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The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

I do love making homemade ice cream. You hit the nail on the head with using CREAM. Yes, good ice cream should be really good. Otherwise, why bother?

You're wise to put the cheesecake crust in there. There is a reason why graham cracker pie crust is a mix-in option at Coldstone Creamery!

I have heard that cream vs. custard ice creams argument is that if you want the flavor to be standalone,and strong, use cream base. If richness is more important to you, use custard.

Malli said...

That's an inviting bowl of good Stawberry CCake icecream... you have such good instuctions on how to make it toO!!

Roz from 'la bella vita' said...

What a perfect time to enjoy this delicious strawberry-laden ice cream! Nothing like home-made Deb! Are you still getting fresh strawberries in California now? Ours are way gone in SC, so I envy you! Just made fresh peach ice cream this week and we just so love making our own! Thanks for this 'sweet' summer recipe to add to our ice cream recipe collection, Deb!

mutfak gazetesi said...

looks fabulous

black eyed susans kitchen said...

This post was amazing...the recipe seems delicious and I like the way you wait till the end for your "verdict". Vanilla bean paste is something new to me...a must try.

Monica H said...

I've made cherry cheesecake ice cream and while it was delicious, I'd love to try this one as well since I just love strawberries!

printed mugs said...

your his dies really very testy i like it so very much thanks for this great post i love your blog

Kitchens Warrington said...

This looks like, its the best bit of pudding the consumer has ever had, i certainly would have enjoyed it, if i had been there to eat it

Carole said...

Wow! Thanks, Debby!

Roz from 'la bella vita' said...

This must be the newest in-vogue ice cream flavor of the year, since I've read it on over a half-dozen blogs now. It must simply be that good, to get so much coverage. Gotta make it! Who doesn't love either of your key ingredients: Strawberries and Cheesecake! Yummmm!